One Reason pH Balance Really Matters

You’re minding your own business, living day by day, and suddenly, something smells, well, literally – fishy. Down there. You get a whiff when you’ve taken down your underwear just to make a pee pee. You wonder if something is wrong. And it very well could be: You might have BV – Bacterial Vaginosis. Not the most lovely-sounding thing ever, huh? Most women have never even heard of it – like it’s some dirty little secret or something. What exactly is BV, what is going on, and why should you care?

pH Balanced

You know how a certain deodorant slogan claims it to be “pH balanced” – as far back as its establishment in 1956? Well, “pH balanced” doesn’t mean anything for deodorant, but conversely, the pH measurement is related to bacterial vaginosis because the infection is caused by a vaginal pH imbalance. The vagina is meant to be acidic, and if it gets too alkaline (also known as basic), BV can result.

How Do I Know If I Have BV?

According to the CDC, you might have BV if you have the following symptoms:

  • Vaginal pain
  • Itching in the vaginal areas
  • Vaginal burning
  • Thin white or gray vaginal discharge
  • Vaginal odor –and specifically as mentioned above – fish-like, especially after sexual intercourse.

How Did I Get BV?

Causes are not totally known, however acquiring BV is associated with male-female sexual intercourse, menopause or douching, all of which can alter vaginal pH by making vaginal fluid more alkaline than is normal.

Why is BV a Problem?

BV is not just about the discomforts of the symptoms – that’s the easy part. Rather, bacterial vaginosis can cause severe if not life-threatening health problems, as follows:

  1. HIV: Increased risk of acquiring the infection via intercourse.
  2. Pregnancy: Increased risk of delivering a premature baby and/or a low-birth weight baby.
  3. STI’s: Increasing your chance of getting chlamydia and gonorrhea, which can in turn cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and even lead to infertility. Note: You might see bacterial vaginosis listed as an STI (sexually transmitted infection) previously known as an STD (sexually transmitted disease). However, it is not classified as such.

Treatment & Prevention

If you are diagnosed with BV, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics. You will need to continue to monitor your situation because you are always at risk of re-infection. 

Interestingly, women with BV often test low for Vitamin D levels, therefore our practice at Miami OBGYN is to recommend a Vitamin D supplement in order to prevent BV recurrence.

If you have any signs of bacterial vaginosis, see your gynecologist immediately for assessment. In the meantime, refrain from sexual activity and again, stay off douching. By being aware of the possibility of BV,  you will keep yourself healthier.